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SET Amp History in Japan
SET Amp History in Japan
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Old 28th April 2010, 04:25 PM   #11
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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SET Amp History in Japan
Originally Posted by panomaniac View Post
I did run with the Hiraga crowd back in the 80s. Jean Hiraga was tight with the Japanese crowd and got a lot of his inspiration there. But I don't remember the history.

I'll look back thru some of my French documentation to see what turns up. Hiraga was always good about citing his sources. As best I recall, the SET fad got started in France very early 80s, maybe late 70s.
That sounds about right based on the literature I have and all the business at la maison..

Joe Roberts as has been pointed out in other posts played a pretty big role in spreading the word around here. I was dimly aware of SE amplification by the late 1980s, but like so many around here just dismissed it out of hand as technologically implausible. It took me nearly 10yrs to come around and I have to admit in my case I was partly inspired by JC Morrison whose booklet of designs I have somewhere to this day. I'm not sure when I got Hiraga's Tube Amplifier book, but a French audiophile I met on line felt very strongly that I needed to read this book and sent it to me as a gift around 1998 (?) or so.

I designed my first SE amplifier in early 1998 which was a very inexpensive 45 based design (you can see the article on my site) and given the limited goals and low expectations was stunned at how good it sounded. For me that was a new beginning.. And I still have and use that amplifier virtually unchanged since that time.

My biggest regret was having been so closed minded - I could have started down this road a full decade earlier. As the result of this I decided to re-examine my predjudices and discovered that good Hi-Fi was invented well before my lifetime. My current system has benefitted greatly from this discovery.
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine
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Old 28th April 2010, 05:12 PM   #12
chrisb is offline chrisb
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For those who've not yet taken the journey, Lynn Olson has a very interesting compilation of articles here;

Nutshell High Fidelity


The Soul of Sound


Western Electric - Rosetta Stone for Triodes

and then when you're ready for a real trip;

The Original and True - Triode GuildŽ

(you may want to take a shower after "finishing" some of Harvey's more explicit exercises )

none of the above are solely related to the OP's topic, but I think they do demonstrate the cross pollination of ideas and enthusiasm that this hobby has engendered around the globe during the past 100yrs or so
like my mind, this space intentionally blank
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Old 28th April 2010, 06:24 PM   #13
intermittent is offline intermittent  United States
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Default little off track

Interesting info here, wondering if any contributors detailing Japanese Set background can supply anything on the japanese adaptation -- perhaps similar to vacuum tube use, never really relinquished -- of the Lp record, and the idler-drive format.

This is of interest because we're talking early eighties, a time when the Sony/Philips extravaganza CD format would have been the talk of the town, especially for audiophiles, especially for japanese audiophiles... (again, similar to the situation of solidstate, another pillar of the huge industrial base of the japanese economy).

Much of the info on early re-appreciation efforts in Japan shows not just tubes but an idler front end driving the show.
Any early sitings, anecdotal or other info, on how / why the typical Garrard 301 or Thorens 124 ended up on the Japanese enthusiast radar ?
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Old 28th April 2010, 07:22 PM   #14
tomtt is offline tomtt
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Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
another part of this timeline, and a most important link .

had a huge influence -

Click the image to open in full size.

W. Edwards Deming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Last edited by tomtt; 28th April 2010 at 07:35 PM. Reason: μετά φυσικά
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Old 28th April 2010, 08:10 PM   #15
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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SET Amp History in Japan
Well I can't find anything in my docs (yet) about the Japanese history.

The first SET demo in France seems to have been in 1979, the same time that Hiraga punished an article about an amp based on a Japanese 300B amp circuit by Anzai, modified by Tanaka.
You can see the Audiophile revue article here:
Anzai SET

There is an interesting tidbit in Enjoy the Music about the history. (about 1/2 way down) Seems the Japanese got into the SET in the mid to late 60's. The French about 10 years later.

More research needed....
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Old 28th April 2010, 08:51 PM   #16
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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SET Amp History in Japan
I remember an article about one of the japanese horn/SET enthusiasts
Maybe he was a pensioned Toyota director, or something like that

First time "we" read about people using 1watt amps
He had a ton of lead batteries placed below the floor

I believe he was the first person to do exotic handbuilt pickups
Maybe that would tell you his name, I dont remember more
sometimes we know very little, and sometimes we know too much
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Old 28th April 2010, 11:49 PM   #17
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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SET Amp History in Japan
Did anyone catch Hiraga's comments on the design of the grid in the 300B? Something I never realized but is also shown closely in the picture is that the diameter of the grid is not constant, this is done deliberately to improve the linearity of the tube, and he mentions the WE patent as well. I wonder whether any current vendors actually do this.

Interestingly enough the only 300Bs I actually like are NOS 300B which are way too expensive and my old JJ 300Bs which seem to offer most of the performance at a fraction of the cost. (I have a quartet of JJ 300B which are coming up on 10yrs of age and still perform well - not more than 5K hours per pair. Can't say whether the current production is anywhere as good.)
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Old 29th April 2010, 04:25 AM   #18
batsong is offline batsong  United States
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This subject interests me as well. I got this from another forum, posted by Angelo in 2008. While not directly about SET amps, I think it is worth sharing:

"Mr. Kei Ikeda has been an enthusiast audiophile since 1919 and his auditorium is a museum devoted to audio.
Look at the two giants horns WE 15 A used in the high bass and low medium range in the main 4 ways system!
The low bass is reproduced by the big woofer you see behind the left shoulder of Mr. Ikeda , another room close to the auditorium is used as a rear load for the woofer . This woofer, IK38 inspired from a RCA duocone loudspeaker, was designed by Kei Ikeda for JVC.
You'll also notice the famous WE 59 A (or WE 540) loudspeaker known as "chinese hat" intended to works with the first Western Electric amplifier, the WE 25A.
Compare the huge mouth of the WE 15A to the smaller WE 6368, half visible behind books and a desk lamp up to the chair in the left part of the view.

Click the image to open in full size.

Comment: Pictures "ikeda.jpg" and "takashir.jpg" were published in a paper with the title "On ne vit qu'une fois, de musique" in the No1. issue of "Stereoplay" (French edition) in October 1979 . That paper with some others in the same review and the famous papers of Jean Hiraga in "La Nouvelle Revue du Son" from the end of 70's and the beginning of the 80's , led to a deep change in the mind of the French audiophiles.

Click the image to open in full size.

Shigemi Takashiri plays piano and 10 others instruments. His favorite leisure is to record and reproduce music in his auditorium.
Two Steinway pianos, some Japanese drums and percussion instruments are visible in the auditorium but the loudspeakers are difficult to locate through the collection of lamps and crockeries.
The Goto tweeters are at the same level as the ears of Mr Takashiri. Those tweeters are touching the high medium and low medium Goto horns, the throats of which go across the rear wall, the Goto compression loudspeakers situated in a small room behind.
But where are the bass loudspeakers? Look at the ceiling and you will see the two giant mouths of the concrete bass horns the cut-off of which is 20Hz.
Not visible are the turntable with 6 tonearms, the 6 tape recorders and the rest of the electronics.

There are two 5-way loudspeakers systems in the auditorium of Dr. Idemiya Yoshikatsu .
The two sytems share the concrete bass horns each of which works with two woofers, Goto SG 38 W.
The first system uses:
In the low midrange, MB-90II horn with an YL D-7500 (Yoshimura Laboratory) compression driver.
In the high midrange S-300A (Goto) horn with a SG-555PS (Goto) compression driver.
In the low part of the high frequency range the S-500 (Goto) horn works with the SG-370 Goto compression driver and in the upper part there is a tweeter SG-17T (Goto).

The second loudspeaker system uses:
-In the low mids the JBL PRO 2202.
-In the high mids the JBL PRO 2440 with a 2355 horn.
-In the highs the JBL 2420 with an home-made horn and.
-In the upper range the tweeter JBL 2405.

Click the image to open in full size.

5-way loudspeaker of M. Tatsuo Kobayashi.
f < 150 Hz : 2 x 416 8A loaded by a concrete bass horn,
150 Hz < f < 650 Hz: compression driver Onken ES 255 Esprit with a concrete bass horn,
650 Hz < f < 2800 Hz: compression driver Onken 500MT with a wooden multicellular horn,
2800 Hz < f < 8000 Hz: compression driver Onken OM 455 with a multicellular horn SC 500 Wood, f > 8000Hz tweeter Onken 5000T.

Click the image to open in full size.

Comment: That system has inspired the French society: AII Ingenierie SA in building their reference sytem in their auditorium in Chatou (near Paris). AII Ingenierie SA designed the Eurythmie 33 and Eurythmie 11 (the last one is also sold under the label Jadis)."

Last edited by batsong; 29th April 2010 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 29th April 2010, 05:20 AM   #19
wrenchone is offline wrenchone  United States
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Never underestimate the tenacity of the true Otaku - thay make most enthusiasts here look like wishy-washy lightweights.
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Old 29th April 2010, 02:14 PM   #20
Cassiel is offline Cassiel  Libya
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Wow, those are nice pictures. Thanks for posting them.
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